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Management can be fuzzy. Be a good coach. Give actionable feedback. Communicate a clear strategy. Drive results. What are you supposed to do with that? What about applying the Progress Principle? In her TED talk Professor Teresa Amabile states:

Of all the things that can boost inner work life, the most important is making progress in meaningful work.”

The theory is that boosting inner work life improves engagement which leads to higher performance and job satisfaction. That sounds great, but how exactly do you do that? Below are 50+ specific actions that managers can take to apply the Progress…


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That’s likely a question that you’ve never asked yourself, but as a manager, it’s an important one. Career conversations are an important part of career development. We’re going to define 5 levels that will make it easier for you to have a better career conversation. Through self-reflection or 360 feedback, it should be relatively easy to know where you stand. You can then set the next highest level as a tangible goal to improve.

Each level builds on top of the previous one. Let’s dive in.

Level 0

Description:

  • Manager never initiates any conversations with employees about their careers or development.
  • If…


Setting up a skip level meeting for interns can be a great way to add value to the intern, their mentor, and the mentor’s manager.

Internships are great for a multitude of reasons. They provide valuable career experience to the intern, they can be a great recruiting tool for the company, and they provide helpful growth opportunities to the employees. A skip level meeting between the intern and their mentor’s manager helps you take advantage of those growth opportunities.

Assuming that you are the manager, a skip level meeting allows you to:

  • Practice having skip level meetings
  • Build a relationship…

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You’re a manager and you want to add value. You want to help your team perform better and love their job at the same time. What can you do?

Becoming a better listener should be on your shortlist. It’s not a stretch to call it a management superpower. Improving your listening helps you do the following:

  • Build trust
  • Get better and more honest feedback
  • Become a better coach
  • Have better career conversations
  • Delegate better
  • Have more effective performance and accountability conversations
  • Improve engagement

Impressive! To unlock the potential of your team you’re going to have to listen a lot and…


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Does your team have psychological safety? This may be a much more important question than you think. It may seem unintuitive but safety is a critical ingredient to unlocking your team’s potential. Google certainly believes so, and Amy Edmondson at Harvard Business School agrees.

When it comes to measuring psychological safety Edmondson recommends running this survey:

  1. If you make a mistake on this team, it is often held against you.
  2. Members of this team are able to bring up problems and tough issues.
  3. People on this team sometimes reject others for being different.
  4. It is safe to take a risk…

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This is a question guide to asking “what are you most excited about?” in 1–1 meetings between a manager and an employee. The best way to get better at asking a question is to practice and ask it a lot. This guide will help you prepare and give you some ideas on how to execute this question.

Why ask it?

As managers and organizations what do we want from our employees? A lot! But at some level we want results and high performance. There are multiple ways to try to get this, and one of the best (and most enjoyable) is having highly…


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Here’s the challenge: write valuable notes for 30+ one hour 1–1 meetings a month. And very importantly, have a life and time for more than just writing notes!

How could that possibly be relevant to you? That’s a totally reasonable question. The addressable market for this specific challenge has to be tiny. Bear with me though. While you may not have this particular problem I’m hoping it has structural similarities to problems you do have and is therefore helpful to you.

For example does your day contain a mix of shallow and deep work? Do you feel like you’re unable…


Pound for pound I think the one on one meeting between a manager and an employee is the best management tool. It is an incredibly versatile tool that allows managers to maximize the employee’s performance and their job satisfaction in a multitude of ways. When it’s done well…

One of the keys to consistently having quality 1–1s is to have a system that allows you to prepare for each one, keep track of all of them, and follow up on the discussions. This is the system that I’m currently using that has worked well for me. But to be honest…


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Are you looking for ways to give your developers more actionable feedback? A fresh look at feedback can help. Rethink your definition of feedback by trying different types, expanding what you give it on, getting some help and changing your mindset. Let’s dive in.

Give more praise

Your response to being asked to give more feedback might be to point out every little thing your team is doing wrong. A better response might be to point out everything they’re doing right! Pay special attention to code and designs and make your praise more actionable by being specific about the positive behavior and its…


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As managers we’re often told that we’re supposed to have meaningful career conversations with our team members. But what exactly is a career conversation?

One way to look at it is that career conversations support career development.

Supporting the career growth of every member of your team is the responsibility of any good manager and can really drive higher performance and job satisfaction.

Career conversations can come in many shapes and sizes and here are a few good ones to consider.

Conversations around the next promotion

This is probably the one that most people think of when they hear career conversation. These are definitely important…

Fabian Camargo

Software Engineer on a management coaching journey. managingdev.com

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